|Type||Independent Qedarite (OOC: Abrahamic) religion|
|Major Prophets||Ismail Rabban, Ariel, Eliyahu, Ahmad, Terek, Shapur, Putera, Bahram Bidar|
|Scripture||Book of Knowledge, Spiritual Covenant, Epistle to the World Congress, Epistles of the Messiah|
|Governance||Democratic with elected Spiritual Assemblies; Caliph as Head of the Faith|
|Caliph of the Messiah||Nasiba Rabban|
|Region||Barmenistan, Vanuku, Istalia, Jelbania|
|Members||unknown; estimates range from c. 5 million to c. 10 million|
The Ruhi Faith (Brmek: رحیه Ruhía; Kathuran: ܪܘܼܚܵܐܘܼܬ݂ܵܐ Rūḥānūta) is a new religious movement founded in Barmenistan in the 43rd century, based on a belief in the fundamental validity of all religions and the unity of humanity. The Ruhi Faith was founded by Ismail Rabban, an Osean Barmenian of Kathuran and Seluco-Barmenian origin, who proclaimed himself the Muntadhir, the eschatological figure in Ahmadism, and assumed the new title of "Messiah". Following his brutal public execution in 4285, the religion began to spread outside Barmenistan, growing or establishing small communities in Istalia, Vanuku, and Jelbania.
The Ruhi Faith is one of Terra's youngest religions, born in 43rd century Barmenistan in the context of millennia-long religious conflicts between Ahmadism, Felinism, and Hosianism. In 4266 Barmenistan was brought under the rule of the Thaller Family with the election of Jens I as Sultan, establishing a Thallerid Sultanate. One of the first acts of the new monarchy was the establishment of Felinism and Ahmadism as the mandatory state religions of Barmenistan, with the followers of other religions subject to persecution and in many cases imprisonment.
One of those imprisoned under the Sultanate's religious policy was Ismail Rabban, a young Kathuran-speaking Osean, descended from the Mede Dynasty on his mother's side. He was arrested both as a result of his father's involvement in an Osean militia as well as due to his religious ideas, considered heretical by the government of the time. During his imprisonment in the infamous Camp No. 3 for Revolutionary Infidels (colloquially known as "Hell"), Rabban claimed to have received a vision of a "Heavenly Twin", calling him to leave his father's sect and through whom he received his mission as a Messiah and the Mundadhir (OOC: Mahdi) expected in the Ahmadi religion.
In 4275, following pressure from Beiteynu and Vanuku, the persecution of religious minorities was brought to an end and all those imprisoned on religious charges were released from jail, while those regarded as more dangerous were sent to exile in various remote locations throughout Barmenistan. Ismail Rabban was considered a particularly dangerous inmate, and as a result he was exiled to the village of Lowàsdomura in Murdhild. In his place of exile he became a noted and controversial preacher due to his proclamation of the prophethood of Ahmad and his calling for the deliberate violation of Yeudi dietary laws and abandoning circumcision, leading to his excommunication by the Osean Church.
In May 4276 Rabban publicly assumed his mission as the Muntadhir in a letter written to head of government Murad Imam, whom he also warned of his imminent downfall. A corruption scandal in August 4277 led to Murad Imam's removal from office and his execution, and the seeming fulfillment of Rabban's prophecy greatly increased his popularity. In February 4278 he dedicated a Brmek book, the Drkjogadék Kitáb ("Book of Knowledge"), to the Sultan himself. In the book Rabban announced his station as a Messiah, a divinely-appointed revealer and intermediary between the human and divine worlds, announcing the formal abolition of the Ahmadi dispensation. Later that year the Sultan appointed Rabban as an adviser, releasing him from his exile, although the Sultan remained an Ahmadi and did not convert to the new religion.
The death of Sultan Jens I in 4283 reversed Rabban's political fortunes. Jens was succeeded by his twin grandsons, Intrsmor and Jemrjkai, who had been raised in the Ahmadi and Felinist faiths, respectively, as per the Sultan's wish. Failure to prevent a string of terrorist attacks claimed by the Apostolic Army in Majatra was ultimately blamed on Rabban's pacifism, and Ismail was accused of either sympathizing with or outright supporting the Apostolic Army, while he was suspected of harboring hopes of political leadership given his partial Mede descent. As a result he was dismissed from his position of adviser in September 4284, and in February 4285 he was tried for treason, terrorism, blasphemy, national apostasy, engaging in cultish activities, and attempting to usurp the Thaller Dynasty. Rabban was found guilty on all charges and was sentenced to flogging and death by crucifixion. His gruesome hours-long execution was broadcast live as a terrifying spectacle for those who followed his teachings.
Following Ismail Rabban's death, his 19 "Apostles" met in secret and elected one of their number, Ismail's wife Nasiba, as the first "Caliph of the Messiah", the spiritual leader of the Ruhi Faith. For the next few months Nasiba Rabban was engaged in helping the young religion overcome the trauma of its founder's death and spreading the religion outside Barmenistan. After the Twin Sultans issued a warrant for the arrest of Caliph Nasiba Rabban, she willingly surrendered to law enforcement agents in February 4286.
In 4298 a republican revolution took place in Varishehr, overthrowing the Twin Sultanates and establishing the Federal Republic of Barmenistan. The new republic reversed the discriminatory practices of the Sultanate and granted the Ruhi Faith freedom of religion. Caliph Nasiba Rabban was released from imprisonment in 4302, and she immediately initiated a campaign for the new religion to recover its properties, including Ismail Rabban's houses and his mortal remains.
The Ruhi Faith is generally more focused on social principles than on theological orthodoxy, however there are a number of views and beliefs that characterize the Ruhi Faith. The core Ruhi principles are (1) the independent investigation of reality (rejecting blind imitation), (2) the unity of humanity, (3) religion and science should complement one another, (4) religion should be a source of harmony and unity, otherwise a lack of religion is preferable, (5) religious, political, racial, ethnic, and nationalist prejudices are harmful for human society, (6) equal rights for all human beings, (7) world peace through the establishment of a Terra-wide federation, (8) separation of Church and State, (9) adoption of ethical and spiritual values to complement material civilization.
The Ruhi Faith is essentially monotheistic, believing in the unicity of God. Ruhi views on God follow a via negativa, positing that God's essence is unknowable, and that his essential attributes are identical to his essence. Both God and the physical world are believed to have always existed temporally, although God is essentially prior to matter.
In Ruhi thought the transcendent essence of God and the contingent and created physical world are bridged by the "Holy Spirit" (Rūḥā d-Qūdhšā, Kutsyl Wikà'jezhrjebrnfi; also called the Word of God or the Divine Command), the first, preexistent emanation of God whereby he created composite creatures and who perceives the universe directly and intuitively. The Holy Spirit manifests itself in human form in the shape of Messiahs, who partake in divine knowledge allowing them to found systems of religious law that match the conditions of society.
Ruhi belief posits several metaphysical layers of reality, the highest being the realm of divine unicity where only God's essence and essential attributes exist. In the second realm God manifests himself by his essence, bringing into existence the Holy Spirit, which then dawns forth on the contingent world, causing new creation to come into being. Unlike similar Sahabi and Halawi systems, in Ruhi thought these metaphysical realms are absolutely separate.
In Ruhi apophatic thinking no absolute knowledge of God or the reality of the universe is possible for humans, and thus all attempts to understand cosmology are only a vague reflection of reality. Consequently all knowledge is relative to the conceptual framework in which it is set. On the conflict within Ahmadism regarding the createdness of the Light of God, Ismail Rabban declared that both are valid points of view within the belief in divine unity, and in what concerns the origin of the world, both traditional points of view (that the world has a point of origin and an end, and that the world has neither beginning or an end) were declared correct, with differences arising from differences in men's hearts.
This relativistic thinking has led to the Ruhi Faith adopting an evolutionary view regarding sacred history, distinguishing it from the understanding of time in the Hosian or Ahmadi religions. Whereas in the latter traditions time is characterized by particular divine interventions, like the arrival of Eliyahu or Ahmad or the Day of Judgement, and between these divine events time essentially stands still, as it does not matter whether one is born 100 or 1000 years after Eliyahu or Ahmad, in the Ruhi view human society evolves. All entities in the physical world are contingent and impermanent, and as such the teachings of prophets are not absolute and for all time, but are rather relevant to a particular time and specific cultural and social conditions.
In regards to the physical world, the Ruhi Faith accepts the findings of current science as the best explanation of the phenomenal world, and to oppose science on nonrational grounds is rejected as superstition and fanaticism.
Bridging the gap between humanity and the Holy Spirit in the Ruhi Faith is the Messiah (Məšîḥā, Mshíh, literally "anointed [by the Holy Spirit]"), the manifestation of the Divine Spirit in human form. In the Ruhi Faith Messiahs are the only means for humanity to know about God. God has been sending Messiahs since the creation of humanity and will continue to do so in the future. In Ismail Rabban's writings the Yeudi prophets, Terek, Eliyahu, and Ahmad are explicitly recognized as Messiahs, and his successor as leader of the faith Nasiba Rabban recognized such diverse religious figures as Shapur, Putera, and Bahram Bidar as well. The concept of Messiahs is linked in Ruhi thought with the doctrine of progressive revelation, which sees successive Messiahs establishing increasingly sophisticated systems of religious laws as humanity evolves intellectually and spiritually. However, although the revelation of a more recent Messiah abrogates the previous revelation and is more appropriate for the spiritual condition of humanity in its time, all Messiahs are considered equal in rank, and each is seen as a "return" of his predecessors, not as a reincarnation (which the Ruhi Faith rejects), but in the sense of a return of spiritual attributes.
A core principle in the Ruhi Faith is the unity of humanity, criticizing nationalist chauvinism and ethnic prejudice. In Ruhi thought, Terra is one country and humanity its citizens. The Faith advocates for the unity of humanity into a Terra-wide federation, the adoption of a universal language (unofficially believed by some Ruhis to be the Jelbic language), the establishment of an international tribunal and a Terran parliamentary assembly, and the adoption of a system of collective security, whereby all nations would retaliate against an aggressor, as long as retaliation is not more costly in terms of human lives than the actions of the aggressor. Additionally the Ruhi Faith calls for the abolition of extremes of wealth and poverty and improving the material conditions of all of Terra, while criticizing wars of aggression due to the exorbitant defense expenditures they imply. This internationalism is not meant to detract from loyalty to national governments, as all Ruhis are obliged to obey the laws of their government insofar as they do not lead to the abandonment of Ruhi faith and identity.
The Spiritual Covenant, the religion's book of laws, includes a wide number of rules governing the lives of Ruhis. The Covenant itself states that implementation of these laws is to take place gradually and with respect for existing cultural norms and conditions. Some laws are to be voluntarily implemented by believers in their daily lives, while others require the establishment of a predominantly Ruhi society. Among the main Ruhi laws are a ban on slavery, asceticism, mendicancy, monasticism, polygamy, cruelty to animals, extramarital sex, carrying arms except when strictly necessary, backbiting, calumny, and gossip, wine and other intoxicating drinks, and the requirement for educating of one's children, particularly daughters, obeying one's government, and establishing a will. The Covenant also includes punishments for murder, arson, adultery, and sexual misconduct. Many of the laws and punishments are left unspecified, to be determined at a later date by the Universal Spiritual Assembly. Personally-applicable laws are to be voluntarily implemented by believers in their day-to-day lives, and violations of the laws are not penalized unless they are repeated and negatively impact the image of the religion.
The scriptures of the Ruhi Faith draw a sharp distinction between the liturgical (Spiritual Temple), doctrinal (the Caliphate) and legislative (Universal Spiritual Assembly) sources of authority. Ruhi worship takes place either individually or within Spiritual Temples, and is open to all, regardless of faith, while administration is under the authority of the Caliphate and the Universal Spiritual Assembly (once it is elected), and applies only for those who voluntarily place themselves under the "Covenant of the Messiah". The writings make provisions for potential conflicts between the two branches of Ruhi governance, both endowed with infallibility but with different spheres of action. As Head of the Faith the Caliph may provide instructions to individuals, but although these have to be obeyed these are not universally applicable as sources of law, while the Spiritual Assembly may legislate on matters not explicitly covered in the sacred writings, but these do not become part of doctrine. The Spiritual Assembly may even legislate in a manner that goes against the values and principles of the faith, and even though the Caliph has the duty to object to these laws, he or she has no right to over-rule them and they still have to be obeyed.
Ruhis believe that a system of Caliphate is ancillary to the system of Messiahship, continuing the tasks of the Messiah and leading the community of believers after his death. The Caliph has two main functions, namely interpreting the Ruhi scriptures and maintaining organizational unity. As authorized interpreter of the Ruhi writings, the Caliph has the right of serving as a source of doctrine within the community, and the Caliph also has the right of declaring Ruhis that cause disunity in the Faith as Breakers of the Covenant of the Messiah, who are to be shunned by the rest of the community. Although the Caliph acts as the head of the Faith after the death of the Messiah, he or she is not considered a holy personage, and the authority of the Caliphate is far below that of the Messiah. As Head of the Faith the Caliph also inherited the Messiah's power of providing guidance and issuing commands to specific individuals, which the latter need to obey, but as the Caliph does not have legislative authority these commands do not become a source of Ruhi law.
Ruhi writings are not entirely clear on the system of electing the Caliph. The "Spiritual Covenant", one of the core Ruhi scriptures and the one that introduced the office of the Caliphate, only provides that the Caliph is to be elected by the "faithful". After Ismail Rabban's death the first Caliph, Nasiba Rabban, was elected by the 19 Apostles of the Messiah, and the Caliph has since indicated that a modified system would be used in the future, without providing further clarifications.
Administrative, legislative, and judicial authority within the Ruhi Faith rests with Spiritual Assemblies rather than individuals, and they are organized hierarchically according to the area over which they have jurisdiction, from local to national and to international. At the international level the supreme authority of the Faith is the Universal Spiritual Assembly, to be elected by the National Spiritual Assemblies at a future date. The Universal Spiritual Assembly has the right to apply the legislation of the Messiah, to supplement it with additional laws, and to act as the highest appellate institution within Ruhi administration. Ruhi sacred texts require that Ruhis within each locality establish a Spiritual Assembly for the purpose of consulting about the affairs of the Ruhi Faith in the area. Consequently, after the Caliph's imprisonment, Spiritual Assemblies were set up in a number of towns and villages in Barmenistan, Vanuku, and Istalia in the 4280s. Two national-level Assemblies were elected in 4289 in Istalia and Vanuku, with a Universal Spiritual Assembly to be elected in the future.
Although the Spiritual Assemblies are considered sacred institutions, they are administrative and legislative bodies and lack ritual or liturgical functions, being exclusively lay institutions. Individuals are not required to be knowledgeable about Ruhi theology or scriptures in order to be elected, as the Ruhi Faith does not offer any authority, administrative or otherwise, to the "learned", and Ismail Rabban appears to have placed more faith in the process of consultation than the moral or religious virtue of individuals. The Universal Spiritual Assembly is believed to be under the guidance of the Messiah and to be divinely protected from error. Obedience to the Universal Spiritual Assembly is a religious duty for all Ruhis.
Being concerned primarily with social principles, the Ruhi Faith has very few rituals required for its adherents. A central principle in the Faith is the separation between doctrine, administration, and liturgy, the latter being open to all and not requiring any sort of uniformity, with very few exceptions. Believers are to pray three times a day while facing the qibla (set in the Ruhi Faith as the body of the Messiah, meaning that Ismail Rabban's burial place is to serve as the point of adoration for the Faith). Once Spiritual Temples are buit, Ruhis are to worship there once a day in the morning and may also perform the three obligatory prayers there. Another ritual prayer is the prayer for the dead, which is the only prayer that can be said in congregation, as congregational prayers are otherwise forbidden, as are sermons and pulpits and the kissing of hands. The Faith also has a distinct 19-month calendar, partly derived from the Ahmadi calendar with some influence from the Jelbic agricultural calendar, and which includes a number of Holy Days, during which work is forbidden. Once a month believers are to gather in any location (usually private homes) and to wash each other's feet and participate in a communal meal. The five or, in leap years, six days before Nowruz, the first day of the Ruhi year, are not counted in the calendar and are considered days of celebration and gift-giving, while the last month of the year is dedicated to fasting. Finally, all able-bodied Ruhis who have the necessary material means are obliged to go on pilgrimage to the Ruhi holy sites, which include the location of the Messiah's body and Ismail Rabban's house.
The liturgical aspect of the Ruhi Faith takes place in Spiritual Temples, also known as Ruhi Temples. The Spiritual Covenant instructs believers to construct at least one place of worship in every town and hamlet where at least two Ruhis live, to be called a "Spiritual Temple" (Bayt Maqdaš Rūḥān). The Spiritual Temples are under the jurisdiction of the local Spiritual Assembly, and there may be more than one Temple in any one town. The main building of the Temple is dedicated entirely to worship, and should be open to all people of any religion. The reading and chanting of scriptures belonging to any religion is permitted, but not rituals or ceremonies belonging to other religions, nor should new ones be developed. Sermons and lectures are not allowed, and any form of uniformity or rigidity is to be strictly avoided. As the Ruhi Faith sees itself primarily as a diverse community of various cultures, united by the "Covenant of the Messiah" and obedience to the Ruhi administration and not by doctrinal orthodoxy or ritual uniformity, worship in the Spiritual Temples is encouraged to take into account the cultural practices of the community in which it is built. Music is encouraged, but not musical instruments, and dancing is only allowed if it involves traditional dances relevant to the spirituality of the local community. Additionally, worship is not the main role of the Spiritual Temple, as the Ruhi scriptures require that each Temple be linked to social, educational, humanitarian, and scientific services to benefit humanity as a whole. Around the Temple there should be facilities such as a hospital, a school for orphans and poor, a traveler's hostel, a home for the disabled, and a university, and just like the Temple itself these facilities are to be open to people of all faiths. The meeting place for the local or national Ruhi Assembly is also to be located near the Temple.
In March 4285, a few weeks after Ismail Rabban's execution, the construction of the first Ruhi Temple was initiated in Calliari in Istalia, where local businessman and Alarian industrialist Vito Sarti purchased around 25 hectares of land for the future Temple. In May the same year newly-elected Caliph Nasiba Rabban sent one of the "Apostles of the Messiah", Ulugbék Hzar, to Istalia, to support the small Istalian Ruhi community and assist in the construction of the Temple. The Temple was completed in February 4295 after ten years of construction, becoming the first house of worship of the new religion.
Calendar and Holy DaysEdit
Ruhi scripture introduces a new Calendar, a solar calendar with years composed of 19 months of 19 days each (361 days), with an additional five or six intercalary days. Years begin on Nowruz, and the first year of the calendar is 4276, the year of Ismail Rabban's private assumption of his mission as Messiah and his subsequent public proclamation. On the last day of each month Ruhis are to gather together and hold meetings, at which prayers are to be said and administrative matters discussed. The origins of this community gathering, known as the "Nineteen Day Banquet", lie in Ismail Rabban's injunction to believers to commemorate his imminent martyrdom with communal meals and the washing of feet. These meals gradually became an important communal event and the dedicated time for the local community to gather and discuss administrative matters. Unlike worship in the Spiritual Temples, the administrative part of the Nineteen Day Banquet is not open to non-Ruhis.
In addition to the Banquets, the Ruhi Calendar also includes a number of holy days, commemorating significant events in the life of Ismail Rabban. On these days work is to be suspended if legally possible, and Ruhis are to attempt to obtain permission from their employer to suspend work on at least one of the Holy Days.
- Nowruz (Gokasp 1/March 21): The first day of the Ruhi year is celebrated on the ancient Aldegarian festival of Nowruz, also part of the agricultural calendars of the Jelbic peoples. In Barmenistan Nowruz marks the beginning of the rain season, and thus the start of equatorial "spring".
- Declaration of the Messiah (Geik 13/April 21): The most important Ruhi holy day is the "Declaration of the Messiah", called by Ismail Rabban "the King of Feasts". The day celebrates Ismail Rabban's private declaration of his mission as the Messiah to his closest disciples in April 4276, a few months before the public declaration of his Messiahship.
- Birth of the Messiah (Prostrnatnyrmojad 13/October 9): Commemorates the birth of Ismail Rabban in 4243.
- Martyrdom of the Messiah (Mlklyk 5/February 11): Commemorates the execution of Ismail Rabban by crucifixion in 4285.
- Day of the Covenant (Afrkmojad 14/December 25): Marks the revelation of the laws of the Ruhi Faith in the Dīatēqē Rūḥānētā ("Book of Covenant) in 4279 and the establishment of the "Covenant of the Messiah".
|Month||Western dates||Jelbic name||Kathuran name||Luthori name||Additional meanings|
|1|| 21 March |
– 8 April
|Gokasp|| ܨܦܬ |
|Splendour||glory, light, excellence|
|2|| 9 April |
– 27 April
|Geik|| ܡܠܟ |
|3|| 28 April |
– 16 May
|Prjim|| ܝܵܐܝܘܼܬܵܐ |
|4|| 17 May |
– 4 June
|Hldjezlyk|| ܕܘܿܟܣܵܐ |
|Grandeur||glory, majesty, dominion, greatness|
|5|| 5 June |
– 23 June
|Nrljogad|| ܐܕܡܘܣ |
|Light||radiance, brightness, splendour, effulgence, illumination|
|6|| 24 June |
– 12 July
|Shlajaríjogad|| ܚܘܼܣܵܝܵܐ |
|Mercy||blessing, grace, favour, loving kindness, providence, compassion|
|7|| 13 July |
– 31 July
|Nyfjogad|| ܩܪܝܐ |
|Call||utterance, the word of God|
|8|| 1 August |
– 19 August
|Támnr|| ܡܠܟ |
|Honor||excellence, fullness, consummation, maturity|
|9|| 20 August |
– 7 September
|Nyf|| ܟܘܼܢܵܝܵܐ |
|Names||titles, attributes, designations|
|10|| 8 September |
– 26 September
|Kez|| ܐܲܚܝܼܕܟܠ |
|Might||glory, power, exaltation, honour, majesty, grandeur, strength, sovereignty, magnificence|
|11|| 27 September |
– 15 October
|Prostrnatnyrmojad|| ܐܘܼܡܘܼܕ |
|Will||purpose, the primal will, the will of God|
|12|| 16 October |
– 3 November
|Elm|| ܐܵܝܠܡ |
|Knowledge||wisdom, divine knowledge, revelation|
|13|| 4 November |
– 22 November
|Pokra|| ܗܘܼܟܡܵܐ |
|Power||might, authority, dominion, celestial might, omnipotence, transcendent power, indomitable strength, all-pervading power, ascendancy, divine power|
|14|| 23 November |
– 11 December
|Utrmojad|| ܐܵܡܘܿܪܘܼܬܵܐ |
|15|| 12 December |
– 30 December
|Afrkmojad|| ܒܘܼܩܵܪܵܐ |
|Questions||principles, truths, matters, mysteries, subtleties, obscurities, intricacies, problems|
|16|| 31 December |
– 18 January
|Sbtlshjogad|| ܐܵܒܘܼܪ |
|17|| 19 January |
– 6 February
|Sltnlyk|| ܫܘܼܠܛܵܢܵܐ |
|Sovereignty||king, lord, majesty, sovereign, monarch, authority, potency, the power of sovereignty, the all-possessing, the most potent of rulers|
|18|| 7 February |
– 25 February
|Mlklyk|| ܡܲܠܟܘܼܬ݂ܵܐ |
|Dominion||sovereignty, kingdom, realm, universe|
| 26 February |
– 1 March
|19|| 2 March |
– 20 March
Month of fasting
|Awélyk|| ܥܸܠܵܝܘܼܬܵܐ |